My name is Daniel Blairs. I’ve always been Daniel Blairs. Up until last week, I’d had a pretty successful run as a part time author, part time stay-at-home dad.
Writing always came naturally to me, but I didn’t always write. After our daughter was born, my wife and I sat down and figured out our finances and when it came down to it, it worked out that we’d do best financially if I was the one to stay home. Taking care of our daughter is a full time job but it has a lot of down time. We call them “naps.”
I got a little stir-crazy after a while and spent a lot of time reading horror stories on NoSleep. Then one day I thought, heck my life is pretty scary, I’ll share a story that happened to me from my own life.
A little over a year ago, I posted my first story. “I hear the hoofs of Krampus outside” shouted my seven-year-old” and it got over 4000 upvotes. An instant sensation! I was hooked. I had so much to share.
I wrote every day after that and It was a lot of hard work, but it was thrilling to have an outlet and people seemed to enjoy what I wrote.
I woke up last Saturday…
It was all gone.
I say I woke up, it wasn’t like that really. It wasn’t like that at all because I don’t think I’d been sleeping. It was like a paradox. A reality shift. My world changed. I’m not sure how to explain it and every time I tell someone, they eye me like I’ve lost my mind. I don’t know if I can explain, but I’ll try…
On February 1st, around 3:30, my daughter and I were in the IDLA parking lot, about to pass through the motion activated doors. The day was a beautiful, unseasonably warm one and there wasn’t a cloud in the lemony sky. We couldn’t have picked a better time to head out to do the shopping. I lifted her into the seat of the cart and wheeled it toward the door. As the door opened, a waft of peppered air assaulted me.
I fought it as long as I could, but when the feeling hits you, everyone knows that nothing can stop a sneeze…
The blast of it was powerful as I caught the snot in the sleeve of my shirt. My daughter laughed and said, “Look da-da! Blew!”
“Yes honey, da-da blew a bunch of nasty boogers onto his shirt.” I told her. I held my arm out for her to inspect, “See?”
“Eww!” she squealed.
We went around the familiar store, filling the cart with various off-brand pantry staples. Out of character for her, Bonnie kept fussing the whole time. Before long, I just wanted out of the store and to get her back home for a nap, and maybe carve out some time for a bit of writing, so I wheeled the cart toward the checkout line.
The woman scanned the items quickly as the conveyor belt rushed them toward her.
Boop, boop, boop, boop
“That’ll be $19.13” she said. I meant to stock the entire house, but with Bonnie fussing the way she was, the trip just had to be cut short. I took my wallet from my pocket and removed my card. I was about to plug it into the chip reader when…
…some punk kid came out of nowhere and snatched it right out of my hand.
The cashier gawked at the guy and then at me. I couldn’t believe it. Did that really just happen? And she wasn’t even going to shout or try to stop him? Left without any options, I did what anyone would do in this situation…I quickly picked my daughter up from the cart and chased after him into the parking lot.
This was the moment I meant when I say I “woke up.” I could tell immediately that something was wrong and it wasn’t that my card had been plucked from my fingers. This was not the same parking lot. It couldn’t be. Everything was backwards. Could this be some sort of dream? A nightmare?
Had the world always been this way? I felt as though I couldn’t remember for sure. Was I going insane?
The stoplight was on the wrong corner. It was on the right before…now it sat to the left. It was like the entire building had been spun the other way around. The giant Noble&Barnes chain that was supposed to be on the other side of the street had been replaced by what looked like an older building. A sign grew up from the ground as though it had been planted there, declaring it to be the town library. The only building that I recognized was the Blockbuster Video that sat next to that, but it too was different. It was vacant and nothing remained to identify it but a faded outline in the sunruined paint where the familiar shape of the sign used to be.
“Look da-da! Blue!” My daughter said. “Blue! Blue! Blue!”
I looked at her. Then I followed her finger, turning to stare where she was pointing. I felt my stomach fall.
The sky wasn’t yellow.
Why wasn’t it yellow anymore?
What was going on? There must be something wrong with my eyes. I felt as though I had a migraine. The best thing to do was ignore it and head home from ALDI.
Wait, ALDI? Is this right? My head began to spin.
Leaving the groceries behind and forgetting about the thief that took my card for the moment, I buckled Bonnie into her car seat and made my way back home. I could call and cancel the card. This was all too weird. I just wanted to get back home and lock the doors and feel safe.
After Bonnie was down for her afternoon nap, I sat down at my computer and began to write a quick story. It was ready to post after a read through so I logged into the u/DanielBlairs account on Reddit…and everything was gone. All of it. I had no followers. My karma had dropped to nothing. My stories were all deleted.
I couldn’t find anything I’d written anywhere. It didn’t make any sense…and then I did find my stories. They’d all been stolen. Renamed and posted by someone else. Someone who’d stolen my name along with my words and my life. Someone called u/BlairDaniels
The Baby Kept Kicking was retitled “I Felt The Baby Kick” and An App Called “The Way You Might Die” was called something else too. They were my words…but someone else had posted them. Every story. All of them.
I’d been published in anthologies (The Trees Can See You — Hate, Death and Other Less Than Convenient Circumstances — Monsterpedia — A Panacea For Pandemonium and others.) I’d even published my own anthology, Stairway Shadows and a novella called I’m Dead From A Disease! they were all for sale on Amazon just that morning. Now they’d all disappeared and searching her name in the Amazon search box, I found all of my work for sale; stolen and printed under other titles.
I was essentially gone. Gone. My life removed and replaced with this stranger.
Who is this woman? How did she do this? These are my stories and she took them and made them hers..
I decided to send her a nasty-wasty email wherein I threatened her very life. Take that! I thought. Just as I clicked the button to send it, Bonnie was waking up. She waddled on her tiny toddler legs to me and I lifted her into my lap.
“Daddy’s gonna sue this lady.” I told Bonnie. “Can you say copyright infringement honey? No you probably can’t.” Then the thought occurred to me. One that sent me into a panic…if my stories were gone, how could I prove that I wrote them? How could I prove that she’d stolen it all from me?
I heard keys jingling at the door. That was strange. Donna wasn’t usually home this early.
The door unlocked, then opened. A strange woman came inside holding a little boy and a few bags of groceries, the backward “IDLA” logo printed on them.
“Why are you in my house?” We shouted at each other. The words came out in unison and we shared a look of sheer panic. I bolted toward the back to get away from her. “Get out of here!” We both screamed at once. As I ran down the hallway, I noticed something else was wrong. All the pictures on the walls, frames that once held pictures of my wife, my daughter and me… They now held pictures of this woman and an entirely different family. She had replaced us all.
I ran with Bonnie clutched to my chest until I reached the back door and didn’t stop for a while. When I did, I was far from my home. Who is this woman and why has she taken my life? How? This is my life! My life I tell you!
I ran again and didn’t stop until my legs burned and my feet began to crack. I ran until my socks were filled with blood. Only then did I slow. I tried to call my wife but another man answered the call. He wouldn’t tell me how he’d gotten her phone. He just kept asking why I was calling from his wife’s number. I gave up. I hung up on him. When he tried to call me back, I blocked him.
As we walked through town, I couldn’t understand what I saw. It was horrifying and everything seemed so strange. It was all so wrong. I began to wonder, with everything in my own life gone backwards, had rest of the entire world gone backwards? Was this even our world at all?
My daughter cries here and there. I think she may be hungry. We stopped at a park bench and I removed my shoes and peeled away my bloodlogged socks. I pulled a few of my toenails away. They peeled off easy like the top of sardine tins.
Pop, pop, pop!
She was hungry so I offered them to her. She declined. I ate them myself. Eventually Bonnie stopped crying and resumed pointing at things on our journey, telling mr what was different and what was changed. She reminded me that things were the wrong color too; though that was something that I could already see. I already knew.
Did I make this happen? What did I do?
Why is the yellow sky now blue?
I don’t know who you are Blair Daniels, and I don’t know how you did the this to me I know one thing’s true…I’ll never, ever–not ever…
I’ll never forgive you…